This week’s question provides an example of one of the most common misconceptions in the PRS and relates to gaining access to a property. The caller had issued a Section 21 notice with the intention of selling the property.
The tenants had initially stated that any viewings would have to be carried out on specific days and times only, but then refused to allow any access for potential viewings.
The landlord’s position was that he had provided the correct notice period to gain access to the property and would be entering the property anyway. We immediately brought the landlord’s attention to the notion of the tenants Implied Term of Quiet Enjoyment.
The Collins dictionary of law defines ‘quiet enjoyment’ as “an obligation of a landlord under a lease or of a seller under a conveyance entitling the tenant or purchaser to possess and enjoy the land free from lawful interference and claims of others, except those claiming by title paramount.”
Even if this clause is not specified in a tenancy agreement it will be implied as a matter of law. This means that while a tenant has possession of a property, a landlord cannot enter for any reason without the specific agreement of the tenant.
Whilst our caller was initially adamant that he would be entering the property to conduct viewings, we advised that to do so would leave him at risk of harassment. Legally the tenant has the right to contact the police to attend and remove the landlord.
Whilst a situation like this can prove extremely frustrating and problematic for a landlord, the law is clear, and the only option available to the landlord was to wait until the tenants had vacated the property and therefore surrendered possession.
If a landlord chooses to ignore this there is a potential for criminal prosecution on the grounds of harassment. Our advice would always be if there is even the slightest doubt over access DO NOT ENTER.
LAT manager, Rupinder Aujla said, “we regularly receive calls from members who think they can just enter their rental properties without permission. They are very thankful for advice on such a simple matter as access.”